College graduates get a lot of advice this time of year about what to look for in a first job, but what should older workers seek in a final job before retiring?
Retiree health benefits, long-term care insurance, retirement-income planning advice or a robust alumni networking program might top the list, depending on your own situation, of course.
“I do hear late-career candidates talk in terms of having that last, big job in them,” said John Challenger, chief executive officer of Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc., an outplacement firm. “What’s important to them in terms of benefits depends on how prepared they are for retirement already.”
Someone looking to make up for skimpy savings might value salary over retiree medical benefits because that person will likely be working until at least Medicare eligibility anyway, for example.
How to think about your own priorities?
If it’s your last rodeo, at least be sure to explore how your new company stacks up in the areas that mean the most to you:
- Retiree health
Don’t hold your breath for company-subsidized health insurance if you plan to retire before Medicare eligibility. Few companies offer it. If you’re thinking this last job will end in early retirement, be aware and realize it may be easier to negotiate higher pay than these disappearing benefits.
- Phased retirement
Leaving work doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing proposition. Jan Whittaker, an operations administrative specialist at Milwaukee-based financial services firm Robert W. Baird who is retiring this summer after a 47-year career, plans to come back as a fill-in worker occasionally.
More employers are offering web-based retirement planning education, said Derek Cushman, U.S. financial wellness solutions leader for Mercer. The benefits consulting firm is expected to launch more personalized financial guidance shortly, he said.
- Second-career building
Retirees hoping to downshift into a second career after their last big job should look for opportunities to mentor — and be mentored by — their younger colleagues, who can teach them new skills, experts said.
At Intuitive Research and Technology Corp. in Huntsville, Alabama, soon-to-be retirees are matched with teams of younger workers to share specific skills. That kind of leadership and teaching can translate nicely to second careers in retirement.